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The geography of Pakistan

English: The Wakhan corridor under light snow,...
 
The geography of Pakistan (Urdu: جغرافیۂ پاکِستان‎) is a profound blend of landscapes varying from plains to deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus ranging from the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the Karakoram range in the north. Pakistan geologically overlaps both with the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates where its Sindh and Punjab provinces lie on the north-western corner of the Indian plate while Balochistan and most of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa lie within the Eurasian plate which mainly comprises the Iranian plateau, some parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. The Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir lie mainly in Central Asia along the edge of the Indian plate and hence are prone to violent earthquakes where the two tectonic plates collide.
 
Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan to the north-west and Iran to the west while the People's Republic of China borders the country in the north and India to the east. The nation is geopolitically placed within some of the most controversial regional boundaries which share disputes and have many-a-times escalated military tensions between the nations, e.g., that of Kashmir with India and the Durand Line with Afghanistan. Its western borders include the Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass that have served as traditional migration routes between Central Eurasia and South Asia.
Area - comparative: more than twice the size of California, slightly larger than Alberta
Land boundaries:
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles (44 km)
continental shelf: 200 nautical miles (370 km) or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (37
 
Pakistan shares its borders with four neighboring countries – Afghanistan, China, India, and Iran – adding up to about 6,975 km (4,334.1 mi) in length (excluding the coastal areas).
Pakistan definitely borders Afghanistan at the Durand Line, 2,250 km (1,398.1 mi), which runs from the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains. Its proposal was drafted by and named after the former secretary of British India Sir Henry Mortimer Durand. When Pakistan became independent in 1947 however, the legitimacy of the demarcation was questioned and disputed by Afghans and the Pakhtun or Pashtun tribes.
 
Afghanistan claimed the border was imposed upon their weak nation by stronger influences and favoured the establishment of another separatist state to be called Pakhtunistan.[1] The Durand Line remained disputed until 1994 when it was finally accepted. A narrow strip of Afghan-occupied Gorno-Badakhshan territory called the Wakhan Corridor extends between Pakistan and Tajikistan.[2] From the eastern tip of the Wakhan Corridor starts the Sino-Pak border between the People's Republic of China and Pakistan spanning about 510 km (316.9 mi). It carries on south-eastward and ends near the Karakoram Pass. This line was determined from 1961 to 1965 in a series of agreements between China and Pakistan and finally on 03-03-1963 both the governments, of Islamabad and Beijing, formally agreed. It is understood that if the dispute over Kashmir is resolved, the border would need to be discussed again.[2]
 
The boundary with Iran, 912 km (566.7 mi), was first delimited by a British commission in the same year as the Durand Line was demarcated, separating Iran from what was then British India's Baluchistan province.[2] Modern Iran has a province named Sistan va Baluchistan that borders Pakistan and has Baluchis in an ethnic majority. In 1957 Pakistan signed a frontier agreement with Iran in Rawalpindi according to which the border was officially declared and the two countries haven't had this border as a subject of serious dispute at all.
 
The Northern Areas has five of the world's seventeen highest peaks along with highest range of mountains the Karakoram and Himalayas. It also has such extensive glaciers that it has sometimes been called the "Third Pole". The international border-line has been a matter of pivotal dispute between Pakistan and India ever since 1947, and the Siachen Glacier in northern Kashmir has been an important arena for fighting between the two sides since 1984, although far more soldiers have died of exposure to the cold than from any skirmishes in the conflict between their National Armies facing each other.
 
The Pakistan-India ceasefire line runs from the Karakoram Pass west-southwest to a point about 130 kilometers northeast of Lahore. This line, about 770 kilometers long, was arranged with United Nations (UNO) assistance at the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48. The ceasefire line came into effect on January 1, 1949, after eighteen months of fighting between Indian forces and Afridi tribals which Pakistan had sent to occupy Kashmir and was last adjusted and agreed upon by the two countries according to the Simla Agreement of July 2, 1972 between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Since then, it has been generally known as the Line of Control or the (LoC).
 
The Pakistan-India boundary continues irregularly southward for about 1,280 kilometers, following the line of the 1947 Radcliffe Award, named for Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the head of the British boundary commission on the division of the Punjabs of Pakistan and in united Bengal of India into Pakistan's Eastern wing of Mashriqi-Pakistan on 13 August 1947. Although this boundary with India referring only to present-day Pakistan and not aimed at formerly East Pakistan borders except only all three governments claiming the status of the district of Firozpur and Pathankot between Pakistan and India. It remains another unresolved issue although it is not formally disputed; passions still run very high indeed on both sides of the international border.
 
 Many had expected the original boundary line to run farther to the west, thereby ceding the Lahore region to India, possibly granting them all of Gujranwala Division: Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, districts and Sheikhupura, Okara, Kasur districts of Lahore Division; and others had expected the line to run much farther east, possibly granting them control of Delhi, the imperial capital of the Mughal Empire including an east Punjab state for Sikhs of their own to govern. The southern borders are far less contentious than those in northern Pakistan (Kashmir). The Thar Desert in the province of Sindh is separated in the south from the salt flats of the Rann of Kachchh (Kutch) by a boundary that was first delineated in 1923-24.
 
After independence and dissolution of Empire, Independent and free Pakistan contested the southern boundary of Sindh, and a succession of border incidents resulted. They were less dangerous and less widespread, however, than the conflict that erupted in Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistani War of August 1965 started with this decisive core of issues. These southern hostilities were ended by British mediation during Harold Wilson's era, and both sides accepted the award of the Indo-Pakistan Western Boundary Case Tribunal designated by the UN secretary general himself. The tribunal made its award on February 19, 1968; delimiting a line of 403 kilometers that was later demarcated by joint survey teams, Of its original claim of some 9,100 square kilometers, Pakistan was awarded only about 780 square kilometers. Beyond the western terminus of the tribunal's award, the final stretch of Pakistan's border with India is about 80 kilometers long, running east and southeast of Sindh to an inlet of the Arabian Sea.0 km)
territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22 km)
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